New Zealand, Kaitangata – It is common to research employment statistics of a particular region and be shocked at the disproportion between the economic active population and the number of jobs available. Such data is even more alarming about the amount of youth struggling to find jobs, even with a higher education diploma or degree.
However, New Zealand’s town of Kaitangata may offer a deal tough to beat. According to a report conducted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) posted in The Independent UK in October last year, the average global unemployment rate has yet to recover from the economic crisis that shook millions all over the world.
Average global unemployment still abounding
The findings demonstrated that while enrolment into educational institutions has increased, the number of youth participating in the labor force has declined by 11.6% between the years 1991 and 2014. Also, the number of youth facing long-term unemployment has increased in many European countries such as France, Greece and Slovakia, but has seen a slight decline between 2012 and 2014.
Also, the number of youth facing long-term unemployment has increased in many European countries such as France, Greece and Slovakia, but has seen a slight decline between 2012 and 2014.
It is true that there are many factors to take into consideration when calculating such statistics, one of which is the population of the nation or region at hand. If a given population is relatively small, then the statistics will also be of that nature. That does not mean to say that employment is not difficult to find among the people of that area, but because the population is so small, the percentage of individuals unable to participate in the labor market will subsequently reflect that number.
— Renee Roman Nose (@ReneeRomanNose) July 2, 2016
Following this point, when the number of people in a given city or region is constantly increasing because of phenomena such as urbanization, if the number of jobs available on the labor market does not increase, then heightened unemployment is to be expected.
This relates to the New Zealand town of Kaitangata, who has a population of 800 citizens and an array of vacant jobs just waiting to be occupied. The mayor of the Clutha District home of the small town, Bryan Cadogan, reported having been making various attempts for years to increase the town’s population and occupy the 1000 jobs available for the taking.
Kaitangata offers house-and-land packages to populate town
Some of the strategies the Mayor attempted to motivate people to relocate to Kaitangata were speed-dating and job fairs. Although these attempts may have been creative, they still did not witness a significant rise in the town’s population.
One incentive that seems to have captured the attention of thousands in the nation and across the world is a prospectus developed by local activists offering a house-and-land package in the town for 230,000 NZD, nearly $164,000.
Since then, Cadogan has been bombarded with over 5000 responses from numerous people on an international scale interested in the proposition. According to Reuters, the Mayor stated: “We have been getting smashed. It has perked the spirits of the locals up hugely, we do not know how to deal with this, we are unprepared”. A considerable amount of interest has been shown from people residing in Syria, United States and Poland.
In a town whose unemployment rate is 2, not percent but two individuals, it is no wonder that many people would be so eager to inhabit it. Contributing to the prospectus is the third generation dairy farmer, Evan Dick, collaborating with lawyers, community services, and local banks are eager to collect as many potential employees as possible. The town is especially focusing on occupying jobs in more agricultural-related sectors, like dairy processing and freezing works.
One of the temporary solutions found as visa applicants are frantically organizing their documents, is bussing workers from Dunedin, a town an hour away, to boost the town’s economy.
Evan reported to The Guardian, “We have jobs, we have houses, but we do not have people. We want to make this town vibrant again, and we are waiting with open arms”.
New Zealand’s average national unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2016 had settled at 5.7%, having increased by 0.4% since the previous quarter. Thus, Mayor Cadogan is hoping that many people from ‘big cities’ who may be struggling to find jobs and make ends meet will relocate to the small town where such matters are not even a slight issue.
Interesting does not even begin to describe this prospectus, where the city of Kaitangata finds itself bidding some of its lands to anyone eligible to live and work in the country as a strategy to increase its population density, and by so doing economy. Land claims, ownership, and rights can be a very sensitive topic, just ask South Africa.
— Jane Bongiorno (@janebongiorno) July 2, 2016
It can mean the difference between living in informal settlements intentionally designed to keep a particular group of people distant from quality public services and those who were unjustly granted the opportunity to reside in the hubs of easy access.
Fortunately, this is not the case for the South Otago town, who will be seeing their economy flourish at the hands of the diverse individuals soon to inhabit the area.
Finally, a different perspective on immigration is buzzing all over social media.